Why I Put a Recording Space in My Classroom

Some people think of me as crazy (well..most people do), I like to consider it “out of the box thinking”. One recent “crazy” improvement to my classroom has been a recording space for my students.

I set this space up for my students to work on their new and improved rhythm projects. It was a space of pure and utter mystery while it remained locked during the beginning stages of their projects ( I just put the sign on the door and hadn’t done anything yet! hehe)

Thinking about durability because of my younger students I kept set up simple. A few chairs, a music stand, a mic stand, an IRig Mic and an Ipad2 with the Wavepad app downloaded to it.

I know it is a closet, but it was perfect to have small groups go in to, to record. The space was small, quiet, and away from normal traffic where they could record quietly. Before students were even allowed to sign up they had to ask themselves the question “Am I ready?” Ready meant:

  •             I have practiced
  •             I have completed the requirements to be ready to record.
  •             I am in control, focused, and ready to record at this very second.

Once they could say yes to all 3 of the above I began to call them in by group going down the signup list one by one. They had to bring in all of their required materials, I showed them how to record, then I let them know to exit as soon as they were finished so we could know the next group could enter. As with any class, some students were faster than others and some were caught red handed goofing off. I didn’t send them in there without rules and procedures to follow though. Posted on the wall were rules made up by each class which usually were centered around:

  • Do not touch the things on the shelves
  • Do not touch the microphone
  • Use the Ipad with respect
  • Work Together
  • Stay QUIET in and out of the studio except for when performing!

The Wavepad app was the easiest way of recording I could find. I showed my students how to use it, asked each group to label their songs with all of the first names of their groups (I can tell who is with who) and after that it was Red Record Button–>Stop Button–>File–>Save. After that they were done and could exit the room!

So why did I give my students this new place? It not only promotes excitement towards doing their best on the projects in order to have a good recording. It also; let’s them feel more trusted and independent in class, gets them using technology gaining skills for later on in life, gives them insight to what some of their favorite music artists go through when making a song,  and is an exciting experience they might remember for the better part of their school career.

5 Fun and Useful Ipad Apps

 It’s been a busy week with a lot on my plate, when my brain has gone numb I look to my iPad to play around and recharge. Here are 5 apps that caught my eye this week!

My Story:Bookmaker for Kids– This app by High Def. Web Solutions is a fantastic app to create quick and easy Ibooks with kids. You can have them write simple sentences, design pictures for each page, take photos, and even record voices. The books can be exported to Ibooks after or emailed to show off wonderful student work!

Splashtop IWB– Another fantastic app from the makers of Splashtop. This app remote desktops into your teaching machine using your iPad as an IWB slate. It lets you manipulate whatever is on your screen while you walk around the room teaching and provides the same tools an IWB would provide. (Yup! I use this with my Quaver IWBs!)

Chakra Chime– This app I actually found and recommended to a kindergarten teacher  who was just looking for a simple chime app. It is normally meant for yoga or meditating but its tone and duration is a perfect attention chime for classes. You can not only just hit it when you need to, you can also put it on a timer to go off at certain times.

Pete the Cat– This is a very cute app you can use as a 5 minute filler after reading one of the Pete the Cat stories in class. It is a find it game based a lot on the second Pete the Cat book “Rockin’ in my School Shoes” I will have my students in front of the projector with this one and I will use my Apple TV to mirror my Ipad to the projector. They will then take turns finding the different objects on the list while we sing the songs from the books!

AtPlayMusic’s Recorder App– I have not had a chance to really use this in class yet but am in the process of going through it myself and find it very impressive. The app is divided into  lessons and songs teaching students how to play the recorder. The lessons are animated conversations between a teacher and a student about how to play the recorder with playing together and games in between to reinforce the new concept. I love how they integrate the teaching concept of I/We/You in one app.

It Got a “Sweetastic” On The Kindergarten Approval Scale

Quick activity idea post before I lose it outta my brain.

      Did you know that there is a NEW creative on www.quavermusic.com? It’s called Songbrush (The new art easel in the shop) and my kindergartners and first graders gave it awesome reviews! Here’s a quick listening activity we did today.

    In K-2 I like to focus on critical listening and discovering the movement, emotion, and style in music. One way we do this is by listening to music we have created and talk about how it made us feel, what is the tempo and dynamic, and how the music moves. Today we used Songbrush. I started out by just drawing a few sweeping lines along the staff and had them describe what they heard melodic contour wise (up, down, left, right, swirling, etc.) Then we learned that every name has a little music in it as I drew a few names in each class and talked about them.

          The whole class was mesmorized on the screen with smiles drawn across their faces. One of my little kidnergartners after having his name drawn on the board piped up “Ms. Dwinal! That was a sweetastic time!” ..aahhh the little moments that make you smile.

Silly Rap Rhythm Projects with Quaver

I’ve been working with the whole Quaver music program this year and decided to take my quarter end rhythm projects for grades 3-5 in a different direction going along with the way Quaver has helped me teach rhythm this year. Below are the instruction worksheets students will be following and using to create their rap masterpieces.

Did you know that Quaver Music just added a bunch of awesome new rap loops to their QGrooves creative on their free kids website? I made a last minute change to include these into the project check it out! www.quavermusic.com

Name(s): _________________________________________________________________________

Step 1: Choose whether your group and write your names on the top of the paper.

Step 2: Pick the instrument or instruments you are going to play with your rap rhythms and write it down below:





Step 3:  Using the worksheet in this packet write your rhythms in the boxes using dots for the notes and blank boxes for rests.  Use the whole worksheet for your rhythms.

In one box

No dots= one quarter rest

One dot= one quarter note

Two dots= Eighth notes

Four dots= Sixteenth notes (4th and 5th only)

Step 4: Remember when Quaver created that song using those silly words? It’s your turn. Write a silly rap song in the blanks above each box on the worksheet you were using in step 3. Remember only one syllable per box (example: El-e-phant-soup takes up 4 boxes)

Step 5: Practice you creation!

Step 6: Log into Quavermusic.com (Only one of you needs to log in if you are in a group).  Using the sweet new rap loops in QGrooves in the studio. Make a backbeat to go along with your rap and practice with the music.

Step 7: Check in with me!

Step 8: Sign out for a recording space, go back and practice until a space opens up. When you go to the recording space bring your instruments and QGrooves song.  Start your QGrooves piece then press record on the computer and perform your song. Remember to press stop as soon as you are done your song.

Step 9: Return to me so I can help you save your song and the next person can use the recording space.  Put away your materials and open up QComposer. Using your dot rhythms on your worksheet and the key on the board, change thosedots into real notes and rests!

Rap Worksheet


Here is the google docs version of the instruction sheets: Project instruction sheet and CD Cover Worksheet / Rap Worksheet PDF